Florida Adding Stronger Background Checks for Caregivers

As we’ve seen a few times on here, background checks are necessary for caregivers and at-home workers. Those entering a home to perform a contract job or those working with vulnerable adults and adults should have a clean background – no criminal charges at all. In the case of a recent article, Florida revised its background check policies for caregivers, as too many incidents occurred with caregivers having criminal histories. With this new law in place, Florida caregivers, including those working with children, the elderly, and in homes, will need to pass a national background check before beginning work.

In the past, those with criminal histories, for crimes such as rape, child abuse, and murder, were placed in care-giving positions, according to the article linked above. This was allowed to occur, as Florida allowed workers to start before passing a background check. Only after the results came back with a worker’s criminal history was the individual removed. Additionally, criminals placed in care-giving positions were given an exemption for proving they had been “rehabilitated” while in prison. Because several risks can result from criminals working around vulnerable adults and children, hiring an individual with a clean background is important, as was realized in a similar instance in Illinois.

According to the article, certain nursing homes in Illinois were experiencing high levels of abuse cases, as well as similar charges of drug dealings, and the state created and revised laws to give nursing home residences more protection. Background checks were included in these changes. Anyone wanting to work in a nursing home needs to pass a more thorough background check before work starts.

Although a background check may not be a true indicator of a worker’s performance, hiring a candidate without a criminal history increases the likelihood that such crimes against residents, children, or dependent adults may happen.